Battle Royale is the first novel of a Japanese author, Koushun Takami. The novel became published in 1999, translated and re-published in the English language during 2003. The book presents a horror dystopian story about high school students forced to fight each other to death by a program set by the fictional authoritarian Japanese government.
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Author: Koushun Takami
Genre: Dystopian Horror
Good reads rating: 4.24/5
My Ratings: 8.5/10
Published: April 1999
Publisher: Ohta Publishing
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***Warning Spoilers Below This Point***
The author set battle Royale up in fictional Japan in the year 1997. In the novel, Greater East Asia state emerges after an alternate World War II. Everything became controlled by the government, and immoral things like rock music they banned. There is a military program named Battle Experiment No. 68 Program.
Under this program, third-year junior high school students become kidnapped and sent to remote locations. They kill other students until only one student remains alive. This program bases itself on research, survival skills and battle readiness of students. It also had a bigger meaning to instil the terror in Japanese citizens to stop any rebellious activities. Under this program, you experience constant fear of being killed by a dear friend.
Our main story begins as students from a Junior High school prepare for their field trip. Some main leads include Shuya Nanahara, Noriko Nakagawa, Shogo Kawada, and Kazuo Kiriyama. When they are on their way, they come to know that the field trip was actually a trick to enter them to program. They wake up in a classroom on a vacated island and surrounded by troops. Kinpatsu Sakamochi is a psychopathic sadist and their teacher. He briefs the students about this program. If nobody dies in 24 hours, they will donate the collars and there will be no winner of the program. Students receive survival packs, as well as random tools and weapons. They sent them to an island one by one.
The weapons include guns, knives, boomerangs, dartboard darts, and forks. Hiroki gets a radar that tracks nearby students and Toshinori receives a bulletproof vest. All the students have metal collars around their necks and to make sure they obey all the rules of the program, these collars have trackers to trace their positions. The collars explode if a student tries to remove it or tries to enter forbidden zones. These collars also transmit sound to the organizers so they can listen to the conversations of students.
Now the students are fighting each other for survival. Mitsuko Souma and Kiriyama kill most of the students. Shuya’s best friend got killed, and he protects Noriko because he wanted to care for his best friend’s crush. Shogo wants to end the battle, hence he avoids fighting. Another student tries to hack the system and bomb the building where they station the program, but he gets killed by Kiriyama. On the third day only Shogo, Shuya, Noriko and Kiriyama left. Kiriyama is on the hunt to find the trio to kill. In the events that take place, they take Kiriyama down. Shogo becomes the winner after Shuya and Noriko flat-lined and their collars record gunshots.
Although Sakamochi declares Shogo as the winner he reveals that he knows that Shuya and Noriko are alive because Shogo disabled their collars. He tried to kill Shogo, but Shogo kills him. Shogo dies of the wounds because of a fight with Kiriyama, but before he died, he thanked Shuya and Noriko who plans to escape the mainland and move to democratic America.
As the story of Battle Royale proceeds, there are several adventures and mysteries which highlighted. Overall, it is a complex novel with an amazing story and a wonderful ending. It receives my rating of 8.5 out of 10 because of the adventures of the main lead in their urge to survive. The author Koushun Takami has done justice with the story. Would I re-read this novel? No. Am I glad I read it? Yes.
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